I have done it so many times on a bike and on car.
17th September was not just another day when I tamed it on the cycle. It was seriously not a leisure trip at all and I learnt so many things about myself, my mind and my body and where it is all going wrong or could go wrong.
Stamina is one thing endurance is another. Smoking and drinking does have serious impact on stamina as well as endurance or any endurance sport. While at the same time drinking coffee and having a 🍌before the ride can give an added advantage. Luckily, It was well noted and I was able to use theses tips on my first 💯 km’s ride.
While it was dark in the beginning, moving around was easy with less traffic and with all the street lights(Thanks to BMC). I was able to navigate through the potholes and gravel around which helped me in moving forward.
I was a little tired from my ride on 16th Sept(a day before) to Barvi dam which was another 70KMs ride and since I started late in for this in morning so, while returning back the morning heat did took a toll on me. I was able to cover 70KMs in around 5 hours.
This was a trial ride took lot of breaks but yeah in the end nailed it.
Today on September 17th I had registered for “Montra sportive challenge 2017” and had to make sure I do go for this event.
I already planned to take my bike in the car and there was no second option if I need to reach venue on time which was at, The 🏨 Bawa International near Mumbai Domestic airport, at 4:45AM. The preparation started a night before which includes me packing my things and sleeping well early the night.
- Got the cycle serviced and looked into minor issues.
- Checked proper tyre pressure.
- 🚲 dismantled kept in the car.
- Cash for emergency. (Kept card as well)
- Cold Water bottle filled with electral solution another bottle of plain water.
- 🍌 for early morning breakfast before ride.
- Emergency contact tag attached to bike.
- Charged smart watches for activity recording for future reference and review.
- Charged front lights and rear ones.
- Arranged and kept washed cycling clothes and helmets for quickly pick and get ready.
- A bag with reflector jersey and pollution mask.
- Charged mobile phone.
- Most important set the alarm clock.
This plan did worked well it really saved me a lot of time and early morning frustrations for finding and arranging things. I woke up at 3:00 AM, took shower collected, changed and picked my arranged stuff and now time to leave for the venue. At 3:44 AM I left my home for venue. It was early morning and as expected there was less to no traffic and I managed to reach the venue on time except a small trouble finding the venue, which was solved easily by asking locals, at times asking your way is much easier than checking Google maps.
At the venue, Collected my BIB from the counter at the venue. The time has finally come for the race to begin. I was pretty excited and by stomach is churning with excitment for participating in a event all on my own. I stood with the front of the line. The race is opened by representatives from choosemybicycle.com and Keyur Kapadia from Tusya travel breifed us about the route and the end point. I didn’t realised till the end of the race and only came to know 2 days after the race when I started checking on a strava and once the sponsors have a uploaded the winners photos that I was standing along with the “Team BikeShark”, I learnt they are pro riders and effortlessly finished the century race between 2 hours and 40 Mins.
We had been provided with our BIBs and wrist band, bibs and wrist bands have the participation no and emergency contact info in case we need any emergency assistance or any mishap happen. The organisers have their ERT vehicles stationed near major points to reach quickly. The roads were without much traffic, looked clean and silent in morning hours, we had our cycles equipped with proper accesories like front and rear blinkers, reflectors and most important of all our helmets. We had been advised to take all the flyovers and reach the destination. The journey was till vasai creek from 🏨 Bawa International and then back.
The race started at 5:39AM I being the slowest rider at the beginning of the line felt sudden rush as everyone started overtaking me, I already got advised from cycle groups and from pro cyclists that WEH is pothole prone area and I was in no mood to break my cycle or my leg either. Being this my first ride I started slow and moved along the crowd which quite soon vanished as everyone moved ahead and left me and my cycle alone pedalling on Mumbai Highways. It was a no brainer that I am not participating in this race for winning it or being top, My idea was quite clear and simple to complete the ride without breaking or injuring myself in a respectable time. The respectable time advised for the ride was 4:30 mins which I am able to complete in say 10 mins more than the said closing time.
The organisers have arranged pit stops at every 25KMs which helped the riders with chocolates, water, electral solution. It would be very difficult for anyone to travel such a long distance without appropriate replenishment. At times I had felt severe hunger pangs and I had to literally push couple of five 🌟s just to keep myself going on. Stopping was not an option and I only planned to move forward and not to leave the saddle at all. Fortunately, I was able to manage this and at most of the times I am munching on the wheels only and while drinking I used to slow down and take couple of sips from the bottle not stopping pedalling anywhere. My bottle itself has been filled 4/5 times apart from me drinking continuously at pit stops.
This was my first time for a century ride and at times I really felt to abandon the ride. But something in me kept me moving and not letting me stop. People say it’s mind over body, I say it’s the thirst to win. I felt more encouraged when I left the cyclist behind me who actually overtook me sometime back and the process continued, it looked like another small race among the amateurs 😋. This small game of ours kept me enthused and moving, I hope the others riding with me too are equally encouraged .
The winning group are far ahead and I am nowhere near them nor was planning to challenge them 😋. One thing which I realised it’s only practice and practice which you do daily physically so you can program yourself mentally that you can do it and take such challenges. Believe me my mind can only push me to do the task but it really take my mind properly synced with physical strength to win the game. The adrenaline rush the endorphins and other chemicals are make me so glad and happy when coming down the elevation it may look as I am enjoying so much that I may overlook a small pothole in front of me and could result in a disastrous fall but as I learnt all this time cycling and falling, and with practice we realise not to fall for this trap of chemical release and over happiness and we should practice hard to control these emotions so to not to hurt ourselves and others.
From the beginning every first 10KM was begging me to return back. But to every 10th KM I was saying OK, we will on the next 10th and when I reached 50th KM there was no option but to return back and at this time my mind and body both are in sync, they really dont have a choice now then to return back 😋. The returning back was a little tougher as the shining ⛅ was up and no clouds, the heat was becoming harder riding because of such conditions luckily in the last 25 KMs after crossing the Dahisar toll Naka it started drizzling and while reaching Goregaon I was totally soaked and thanks rains you did the magic, now no longer sweaty and itchy. The dehydration from sun heat is long gone. Finally after 4:40mins returned back to the 🏨 all energised, I was expecting a warm welcome but nevertheless happy to see someone attending us, he guided me to the breakfast area.
And the breakfast was awesome with Cereals, Poha, Idli, 🍞 butter/Jam, eggs, omelettes, juicies and tea/coffee, I would have gone even for bananas but I am so happy and hungry to see so many options .
Once done with the breakfast went to collect my T-shirt and medals. Now nothing can beat this. It was such a proud moment and a proud feeling.
Finally some tips time. Got these from another cyclist, who shared with us on the on whatsapp group and I believe this is what BRM clubs also advises, but are really nice and helpful tips.
My 2 Cents preparing for a Long distance cycle ride for the last few days
1. Do Long rides on weekends
2. Do some leg and shoulder exercises as there would quite a bit of road jerks hitting your shoulders.
3. Do some slow runs , rope skipping and brisk walks.
4. In the last 10 days do not change/adjust anything on the bike. Change the tire if you have to 15 days before a long ride, adjust seat height if you have to now, keep the same saddle what you already have.
5. Start riding with the same cycling shorts and Top/ jersey you would want to wear that day. Would suggest wear something light colour.
6. Get your cycle serviced now and don’t get it touched by a mechanic in the last few days.
7. A few things you would want to carry for a long ride should include a good pair of Gloves/ sunglasses,2 bottle cages, a reflective vest, a head light and a tail light, spare tubes and P repair kit, a pump, a whistle, cell phone, energy bars, a Pudia of Black salt/Kala namak,some dry fruits,chikki.
8. Stop to cycle/exercise 2 days before the Big ride
9. Don’t get into arguments at home/work prior to the ride as you need to be focused on the road.
10. Don’t use headphones while riding that day and also put your phones on silent mode.
11. Be friendly to the locals while riding through congested cities and villages.Inavitably you will be fired upon by many questions by passing two wheelers , tell them you are unable to talk for long as you are out of breath.
12. IGNORE wired and stupid comments if showered upon, normally the villagers are harmless but inquisitive. If asked about the price of your bike, say it under 12K no matter how much you paid for it.
13. Always keep at least one of your water bottles full. Drink Before you are Thirsty and eat before you are Hungry.
14. If your ride is not a race then ride steady not fast, Stratetiize your ride, divide it into small distances which you ride normally each morning and time it and take a break of a minute at each section killed.Dont Burn yourself before you reach half way point
15. Normally ride constantly for an hour or 22~25 Kms and take a water break of 2 mins, thats what we do when we are riding.
16. Make small groups of 3~4 riders whom you ride with normally and turn by turn lead your own groups
17. Don’t ride fast and burn out soon use the cooler sections of the day to the maximum and take fewer breaks then.
18. If happen to cramp, we all did and do ,don’t quit manage it Remember what LA said “Pain is Temporary and quitting is forever”. If you do cramp get off the bike do some stretching’s , have a Soda Pop with Black salt in it or have just plain water and add some salt in it.
19. Start hydrating yourself 2 days before the ride. Drink plenty of fluids be it water, juice or anything else. Increase your salt intake in the last few days as you are going to lose a lot of through sweat.
20. The day before eat lots of Carbs as in Pasta, noodles etc, sleep early listen to relaxing music if possible come back home early from work.
21. Remember you are already a champion attempting a long ride and not many people have the mindset like yours but if you feel exhausted and are in pain beyond your withholding limits , remember there is always a next time and DNF is anyways better than DNS. [DNF(do not finish), DNS(do not start)]
22. Remember age and body structure has nothing to do with completing a long ride, It’s all in the mind and believe in yourself that everybody who has taken up long distance riding on Indian Roads have a very strong Mindset.
Thanks for reading. Please feel free to provide your feedback in comments below.